Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Leeches

During my tenure at FoxTrax, I've been exposed to a whole industry that I had no idea existed. There are a plethora of businesses whose entire revenue stream is derived from taking advantage of other businesses.

I'd seen a little bit of it during the 3/4 of a shift I spent in a toner room (which, it seems, was just long enough for me to figure out that it was a scam and exactly how that scam worked). But I had no idea how extensive this can go.

Here are a few of the usual suspects:

Listing sites - These businesses offer you "exposure" by way of an overpriced listing on a site that you've never heard of and that no one goes to. I got a call the other day from one called "Executive Business Listings". I haven't linked to them because I don't want them getting any SEO out of me, and I encourage you to not search for their site for the very same reasons, but I'll tell you what you would find: no phone numbers, no contact info, and it was, in fact, hard for me to find anything that would constitute a "listing".

They called to ask me if I wanted to renew our service and to confirm the address to send the invoice for last year's service--and invoice that goes to the tune of $900. They kept badgering me to claim that I was "authorized to receive invoices on behalf of the company". Which I never admitted to--and since they kept saying they would get me a confirmation number and never did, I don't think they'll actually be sending us anything, but just in case they do--we also record our phone calls.

And then there's the International Trademark sellers. Shortly after we got our trademark for our logo, we began getting a deluge of mail offering us an International Trademark for the low, low price of anywhere from $1000 to $20,000 (or the equivalent in Euros). Of course, they're all written in dense legalese and act as though they've been in touch before. It reminded me of the mail/calls Abby and I got immediately after our wedding, offering us rushed copies of our marriage certificate.

And they all pretend like they're who you've been dealing with all along. On a similar note, I remember right after we picked up the paperwork at the licensing office in Vegas, walking hand-in-hand towards Fremont Street and a guy stopped us and asked if he had just seen us in the licensing office (we'd been there, but he hadn't--I'd have recognized the ridiculous orange shirt he had on) and asked if we'd picked a chapel yet and tried to sell us the use of his.

But the biggest pain has been Salesboom. We signed up with them over a year ago--they're an online CRM that has lots of cool features but suffers from being cripplingly slow and not very usable--which is kind of a problem for a service that costs $1200 for a one-year contract. After 6 months, the service was abandoned. So a few weeks ago, they called to see if we were interested in re-upping. We told them we weren't. So they told us that, according to the agreement we had signed, if we wanted to discontinue service, we needed to give them a month's notice in writing (they called us, of course, with less than a month to go), and that they were going to just charge our card anyway.

Legal action is slightly obstructed by the fact that they're in Nova Scotia.

Yeah.

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1 comment:

Amy said...

I HATE the listing sites. Hate them.